FRIDAY, APR. 20: Shannon Hassell used to think she couldn’t do the 200 metre backstroke.
She knows better now.
The Sharks Swim Club member won the gold in the Girls 11-12 event at the just concluded Carifta Swim Meet in Nassau, Bahamas.
That medal helped her complete her collection as she had previously won the silver in the 100 metre backstroke and bronze in the 50 metre backstroke.
The win has helped give her confidence that she is capable of not just being able to compete at that distance, but being the one others have keep their eye on.
The Saltus Year 8 student said she was as surprised as anyone when looking up at the scoreboard to see her time.
“I was really nervous for the 200 metre backstroke. I really didn’t think I would do as well as I did.
“I though I would do terrible because I usually don’t do that race, but now I know I can. This just proves that I can.”
Hassell said she normally does not compete in the 200m back because in the Bermuda pool, it would mean eight turns “and I’m not very good at them. I usually get disqualified because my turns are not continuous — I’ll be too far from the wall and glide in.”
The young swimmer wasn’t given much of a chance based on her past history and was put in Lane 2 for the preliminary.
“At the end of the race, I was shocked because I didn’t think it was mine. I thought I was looking in the wrong lane. While I was swimming I thought I was in the back and behind everybody.
“I just went out as hard as I could because I didn’t think I would final.”
Hassell’s time was so good she was put in Lane 4 for the final.
National team coach Ben Smith told her, “Go out there and get that medal.”
In 2011 she also competed in Carifta, but only made one final, but Hassell said that event helped her build confidence for this year’s meet.
“It showed me I am a backstroker. I only did three events — I did terrible in the 50 breast and 100 breast and made the final in the 100 back. That really surprised everybody.”
Hassell said she now wants to concentrate on the backstroke even more after this year’s three medals.
She started swimming four years ago by doing aqua mania.
“I didn’t have any other sports to do so we joined Harbour.”
Her brother Jayson also swims as well as her cousins Vaughn Rowse and Alyssa Rowse.
“ I really didn’t like it in the beginning, but then I started to see I had potential in it and I enjoyed meeting new people.
“I love learning the different strokes and it’s always good to know how to swim.”